A stage winner in Bern at last year's Tour de France, world champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) had to settle for second place behind Michael Matthews on stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse. Since 2011, Sagan has won at least one stage of the WorldTour stage race and holds the race record with 13 stage wins.
The aggressive finale of the stage saw Trek-Segafredo take control on the uphill run with Sagan comfortable in the first few wheels. AG2R-La Mondiale's Domenico Pozzovivo caused a further selection of the fast men inside the final kilometre as he pushed the pace but couldn't drop the likes of Sagan, Matthews or John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo).
Team Sunweb's Nikias Arndt took control of the finale as he dragged Matthews to the head of the reduced peloton with the Australian then finishing off of the sprint to claim the win. Against the barriers on the right-hand side of the road, Sagan had to settle for second place but hasn't given up on extending his winning run as he explained.
"It was another tough stage at the Tour de Suisse, with a hectic finale on a hot day. The squad perfectly executed the plan we had in the morning," said Sagan, who was eighth on stage 2. "My sensations were good and I gave it my best, but unfortunately in the final sprint, I got closed and took second. We will try again in the coming days."
Bora-Hansgrohe director Jan Valach added that he was happy with how the team rode the stage and ensured the sprint final despite the tough parcours. Valach explained that the team is likely to give Sagan a day off for stage 4 due to the hard finish in Villars-sur-Ollon.
"The squad worked really well today. The plan was to let just a small group break away, and this is what took place. Juraj Sagan pulled at the front, together with BMC, then Maciej Bodnar put in a solid effort and we reeled in the escapees with less than 15km to go," Valach said. "They positioned Peter at the front in the final kilometre but he was pipped on the line by Matthews. Tomorrow we have a short stage for the climbers, with a climb and then a summit finish, and we will try our best with Patrick Konrad and Jay McCarthy."
Sagan will have several more opportunities to add to his haul of Suisse wins and fine tune his winning form ahead of next month's Tour de France. Sagan is aiming to continue his green jersey winning streak and equal Erik Zabel's record of six consecutive victories in the sprint classification.
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